Saturday, August 17, 2013

2000AD Prog 1845 - review

Is by Karl Richardson and pretty exciting too. I'm sure that will shift some copies off the newsagents' shelves. Dredd's left glove looks a bit weird, more like he is wearing a piece of forearm armour called a Vambrace (yes I looked that up) instead of his standard gauntlet type gloves.His badge is rather pointy with his name at too much of an angle but hey, it's all artistic licence. I'm not sure that wall would really protect Dredd from the weaponry the Skull guys are using but once again anything goes to sell the Prog, and I think this cover does the job.

Judge Dredd: Bender part one by John Wagner, Ben Willsher and Chris Blythe.
I've been reading quite a bit of classic Wagner recently: Necropolis, Tour of Duty, Day of Chaos; and it strikes me that he is the master of the slow build of tension and story points. Little things start to add up and while there is usually the requisite amount of Dredd busting heads it is the dialogue and unfolding events that he excels at.

On the face of it this seems to be a straight forward tale of a Judge who has stepped too far over the line into brutality, but it is the character of Lock we will have to watch. Clearly traumatised by the events of Chaos day and his inability to save his own mother, how he reacts to being partnered with Bender will be interesting. Dredd makes a brief cameo as do the Skull faced gang. Ben Willsher can do no wrong as a Dredd artist, and all in all this is an interesting opening episode from the definitive Dredd writer.

Defoe: The Damned part ten by Pat Mills and Leigh Gallagher.
The Pat Mills history lesson part one. Defoe appears to have sold out his comrades to the evil zombie master, Faust. While his comrades make their last stand he and Faust continue their dissection of all that ailed British society before the zombie plague. Mills knows his history and wants us to be interested in the Levellers and the New Model Army, and has chosen a black and white zombie comic strip to tell us all about them. Meanwhile Leigh Gallagher produces some stunning artwork with several of the usual zombie tropes beautifully rendered. Great stuff.

Slaine: The Book of Scars part two by Pat Mills and Clint Langley.
The Pat Mills history lesson part two. This time it's the thirty year history of the character of Slaine he's going to instruct us about by revisiting some of his classic battles. So here we have a retelling of the Wicker Man storyline with Langley putting aside his usual photo-realistic style to give us a scratchy black and white tribute to Massimo Belardinelli. He does this particularly well with the faces and hairstyles of the female characters. I confess I'm not really familiar with Slaine's history so I'm looking forward to this tour through his past with the artists entertaining themselves, and us, with pastiches of other illustrators' works.

Strange to have two black and white strips running in 2000AD at the same time, and both by the same writer. Last year when something similar happened it led to Trifecta. You don't think ... ?

Age of the Wolf: Wolfworld part six by Alec Worley, John Davis-Hunt and Gary Caldwell.
This one is not very popular according to the ECBT2000AD Progcast and the 2000AD forums. I quite enjoyed the first two runs of Age of the Wolf as the Werewolf invasion spread and the character of Rowan developed as humanity's last hope. The problem with the third book: Wolfworld is the depiction of Werewolves just standing around and talking. Rather than looking threatening they resemble large fluffy dogs or bears and bring us back to the level of cute, cartoon animals with no sense of menace.

Fortunately this episode concentrates on Rowan and her desperate race to save her daughter before the Wolves sacrifice the girl in a stone circle. But it's still all brightly lit and coloured and misses the opportunity to give us a sense of this darker world and stakes at play. It's OK and I don't actively dislike the series as some do but it doesn't seem to be working in the third book.

The Ten Seconders: Godsend part seven by Rob Williams, Edmund Bagwell and Abigail Ryder.
Now this is dark and menacing. Whenever 2000AD take on Superheroes you can be sure that they will do something strange and sinister with them. The classic red, white and blue all-american hero does not fit in to 2000AD's reactionary world view and here we find out what the alien super-powers have been doing with Earth. While at first it seemed that the parents of a bunch of naughty children of mass destruction had arrived to right their wrongs, now we find that our world is just the latest in a series of petri dishes they play with almost as a form of distraction for them.

Rob Williams continues to nod towards some classic moments from mainstream American comics and Edmund Bagwell gives us some glorious and twisted artwork. I wonder what would have happened if Tharg had switched Abigail Ryder over to colour Age of the Wolf, maybe that would have worked better?

Pick of the Prog = Dredd for a tantalising opener.

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